We had a low key and relaxing day that was much needed after a steady stream of full “science-ing.”
We went snorkeling and saw stands of Acropora palmata, the beautiful Elkhorn coral. This coral was once widespread throughout the Caribbean, but is now rare to see because it was decimated by disease in the 1970s and has not really come back in most areas.
This afternoon, Amy, Maickel, Ashlee, and I dove to recover Ashlee’s hydrophones that she had deployed on one of our reef sites.
Ashlee suggested that I write a blog post to highlight all of the cryptic/ “unseen” help and support from the crew that we have had while working and living on the Alucia. If you think about it, the crew keeps the Alucia running like all of the cryptic and unseen chemicals, microbes, and sounds that we think contribute to the health and processes that occur on coral reefs.
The crew is comprised of two chefs, stewardesses and ship managers, engineers, deck hands, the bosun, diving safety officers, an IT/technical officer, navigation and safety officers, and a captain.
When I first boarded the Alucia, I had no idea that it took so many people (20) to keep a ship like this running. Each of their contributions to the cruise is unique and important: the chefs cook and provide food for the 40 people on board at every single meal and do so even though we haven’t been able to replenish the food supply after the first two weeks of the cruise. And they cook delicious, nutritious, and satisfying food.
The stewardesses and ship managers assist guests and other crew members with keeping the births and common living spaces clean, delegating tasks, completing paperwork for the ship, and keeping everything organized.
The engineers keep the power on and the ship moving (in addition to many other things that I am unaware of), but they also fix plumbing and lighting problems. They spend most of their time
The deck hands take care of superficial ship maintenance, drive the diving boats, help carry and pass equipment, assist during diving operations, and even dive with us as safety divers when they are needed.
The bosun is an officer of the ship who is in charge of equipment, overseeing the other deckhands, and coordinating operations on deck.
The diving safety officers oversee all diving-related operations, help inspect and fix diving equipment, and enforce diving safety before, during, and after dives.
The IT/technical officer oversees internet usage on the boat and makes sure that the satellites and wifi are working so we can communicate with the outside world.
The navigation and safety officers are in charge of getting the ship to the correct locations, enforcing on-board ship safety, and keeping the boat in a safe position (especially in shallower areas close to the shelf and the coast).
The captain oversees all operations that take place on the ship and nothing happens without his approval.
I have enjoyed getting to know and work with these amazing and talented people over the course of this cruise. They have allowed us to conduct our science and access our reef sites. They have kept us safe, taught us about life on a ship, and made us laugh. A big thank you to the amazing crew of the R/V Alucia!
Thanks for reading!